- Texas lawmakers propose legislation that would allow for local pro sports teams to partner with sportsbook operators
- Legalized sports betting still faces an uphill climb in Texas
- Mavs, Cowboys, Rangers have united in efforts calling for legalization
On Tuesday, Texas Representative Dan Huberty proposed a new piece of legislation that would allow for local professional sports franchises to serve as sports betting operators in the Lone Star State. Huberty is one of the few Texas Republicans to support legal sports betting, and he is hoping to bring the measure to the ballot this November.
The House Joint Resolution backed by Rep. Huberty would amend the state constitution in order to authorize the state legislature to vote to legalize sports betting. Doing so would then give voters the chance to approve or reject legal sports betting in November.
Like California, New York, and Florida, those within the sports betting industry see massive potential when it comes to Texas. Texas has the second-largest population of any state in the US, and a legalized sports betting industry in the state would have the potential to generate hundreds of millions of dollars on a yearly basis.
Similar Senate Measure
Texas Senator Juan Hinojosa filed a similar piece of legislation in the Texas Senate. If the measure passes through both houses, the bill would allow for local pro sports teams to partner with sportsbook operators. Earlier this month, the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers teamed up to form the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, which calls for the legalization of sports betting in the state.
The bill says, “Any sports governing body can enter a commercial agreement with a sports wagering operator under which the sports governing body may share in the amount wager or revenues derived from sports wagering on the sports governing body’s sporting events.”
While sports betting is still illegal in Texas, a couple of Texas-based franchises already have stake in the industry. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a part of a group that holds an ownership stake in DraftKings, while Mavs owner Mark Cuban is an investor in sports betting data provider Sportradar.
The new bill would also allow greyhound and horse racing tracks around the state to operate sportsbooks of their own. Texas is home to three racetracks: Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, and Retama Park in the San Antonio area.
Legalization Will Be Difficult
While there is plenty of support for legal sports betting, the measure still faces an uphill climb in the traditionally conservative state. Any joint resolution would need a two-thirds majority of members in both houses of Congress in order to pass. Any measure can’t be vetoed by the Governor of that threshold is met, but getting that far won’t be easy.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has been vocal in his opposition to legal sports betting in Texas. In a recent interview, Patrick said he doesn’t expect the measure to earn serious consideration. Patrick added that he does not believe legalized sports betting would add enough new revenue to the state to be worth the hassle.
If legal sports betting does eventually pass, the upside is tremendous. Texas is home to nearly 30 million people in addition to 13 pro sports teams and countless college sports teams. Texans spend millions of dollars every year at casinos in neighboring Louisiana and Oklahoma, and some local lawmakers and other industry advocates see that as a missed opportunity for their own state.